The (non US) NATO soldiers actually the fighting in Afghanistan are Brit and Canadian – the other 30+ NATO contingents don’t do rough stuff. Fair enough, someone has to run logistics. But the large German contingent should swap its mine-protected vehicles for the useless junk Brit fighters are dying in.
The Brit MSM reports the story in its usual misleading way:
A NATO military chief asked yesterday for another 2,500 troops to be sent to southern Afghanistan to reinforce the Canadian and British battlegroups that have been under fierce attack by the Taleban for the past two months.
Here’s the real story (my emphasis):
NATO commanders in Afghanistan are not happy with all the strings attached to their authority by politicians back home. The ROE (Rules of Engagement) for NATO troops contain over seventy restrictions on how the NATO commander may use troops assigned to him. Most of these have to do with where national contingents can be moved, and how much they can be exposed to danger.
In the last six weeks, the NATO force of 20,000 troops has suffered 38 dead, but has killed about twenty times as many Taliban fighters. The NATO troops are good at what they do, but they could do more, and at less risk to themselves, if the NATO commanders had fewer strings attached to who can be used where and how.
Of particular concern is the German contingent of nearly 2,000 troops. Current ROE restricts the German troops to Kabul.
…both German and Canadian forces in Afghanistan have mine-protected vehicles. Both forces have had vehicles run over mines (and attacked by suicide bombers). In all cases where mine protected vehicles have been involved, the crews have survived with only minor injuries.
The Canadians need all their equipment, but the Germans don’t and and the Brits doing the fighting have lousy protection – over a quarter of our soldiers killed in Iraq died when their flimsy Land Rovers were hit with IEDs, and the proportion in Afghanistan is also high.
So NATO’s solution is obvious – give Germany the option of either joining the fighting, or swapping its mine protected equipment for the Land Rovers.